Thursday, September 15

Stitch Bombing!

So, you're walking (or jogging, or biking) down the path along the Schuylkill Riverbank. This is a daytime shot, but maybe it's getting on towards dusk, and you've got to go under these dark sections of bridge- just a bit creepy.
You're halfway through the underpass, and something catches your eye.
Wait, what? What is that? Is there something stuck in the fence?
Oh cool-that's all fabric and some shiny stuff over there.
Woah! that's all stitched onto the fence- and all those pieces are stitched onto the fabric- cool.

Huh- those bits and pieces are all glass and trash and stuff. Weird. But that's pretty interesting. hmm, why would anyone bother?
And you walk away. And you're thinking. And the place isn't as creepy as it used to be because you saw something- dare I say- beautiful?
Or that's what you would do if you were me and think some graffiti is really art and you actually look at stuff in your environment and get transformed by how beautiful this gritty city can be.

This is a project I've started doing with my artist friend Johanna Marshall. Last week we gathered the bits and pieces of debris from the path between the art museum and the 676 bridge. We shisha stitched all the pieces onto blue fabric to look like Nazar beads, and then met up again today to sew them all onto the fence. We got 23 pieces onto the fence. There were supposed to be a few more, but I didn't dig deep enough in my bag to get them all out.  The Nazar symbol is supposed to ward off evil or danger, and we're planning on doing these in spaces that seem like danger zones to transform them.

It took about 2 hours to sew them on. A freight train went by 8 feet from our faces. Lots of people passed by without comment, but I saw a few back glances over shoulders and a few smiles. One guy tried to sell us a bike for $10. On our walk over, waiting for a light to change some lost-looking tourists walked by and I successfully gave them directions in French to get to the restaurant they were searching for. It was a truly beautiful day.


  1. What a totally cool idea! Share the stitch with people who aren't looking for it. Great idea!

  2. Thank you! Both of us have a love of finding beauty in the city. There's something wonderful in the contrast of the comforting, handmade stitch against the hard, industrial fencing and concrete.

  3. "Yey though I walk through the shadow of Death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me. Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.."

    Thanks for brightening the way and shedding a little hope and comfort in the world.

  4. That's so beautiful it made me cry...

  5. What a wonderful thing to do to brighten up a dull and dingy place! Love the pictures and your blog! We grew up in Philly!